Natural Food Holdings a possible acquisition target

by MEAT+POULTRY staff
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Natural Food Holdings Inc., the Sioux City, Iowa-based private equity-backed parent of Niman Ranch Inc., a producer of natural and organic meat, is receiving inbound buyer interest from domestic and international strategics, according to a report by TheStreet, a financial news and services website.

In January 2009, Niman Ranch and its network of suppliers that produce naturally raised meats was acquired by Natural Food Holdings LLC. Niman Ranch, which began in the early 1970s, offers fresh beef, pork, lamb, and a variety of smoked and cured meats.

White Plains, NY-based PE firm LNK Partners LLC, which has Natural Food Holdings in its portfolio, is weighing its options because the interest, particularly in light of the rich valuation that Applegate Farms LLC received from Hormel Foods Corp. The price tag Austin, Minn.-based Hormel paid for Bridgewater, NJ-based Applegate was $775 million, more than double the target’s revenue of $340 million.

According to TheStreet, San Francisco PE firm Swander Pace Capital LLC generated a return of six times the equity it invested into Applegate. LNK said in June 2011 that it spent $68 million in order to acquire Natural Food Holdings, which also consists of meat packing unit Sioux-Preme Packing Co. and Prairie Grove Farms, another consumer brand.

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